Revenue at its highly watched direct-to-consumer unit soared 73% to $3.5 billion in its fiscal first-quarter period.
Revenue from consumer streaming subscribers' fees came in at $2.5 billion, with $882 million from advertising on streaming platforms -- up 92% and 47%, respectively. Hulu, a major piece of its streaming revenue, saw its advertising improve 48%.
Disney’s DTC unit narrowed its operating loss to $466 million versus $1.1 billion a year before.
Total Disney business revenue fell 22% to $16.25 billion, due to continued pandemic-related issues affecting its theme parks and its theatrical movie business, blamed on theater closures. It was up sequentially from the previous quarter to $14.7 billion.
Net income was $17 million compared with $2.1 billion in the fourth-quarter 2019 -- a bit of a surprise as analysts were expecting a net loss.
Disney was up 3% in after-market stock market trading, following the release of its quarterly earnings results.
Streaming platform subscribers continued to climb strongly -- to a total of 146 million worldwide. In its preceding fiscal fourth-quarter global subscribers were 125 million.
Disney+ is now at 94.9 million global subscribers; with ESPN + at 12.1 million; Hulu SVOD; 35.4 million; and Hulu + Live TV; 4 million. At the end of its previous quarterly period Disney+ was at 73.7 million; ESPN, 10.3 million; Hulu video-on-demand, 32.5 million; and Hulu + Live TV, 4.1 million.
“Disney+ has exceeded even our highest expectations,” says Bob Chapek, CEO of Walt Disney, in prepared remarks.
One major downside, according to some analysts, is Disney+'s average revenue per user (ARPU). It was down 28% to $4.03, a drop from $5.56 a year ago.
This is largely due to continued free introductory promotion deals, specifically now in India with the Disney+Hotstar service. In the U.S., Disney’s free-year long promotional deal with Verizon ended in November 2020.
The current retail monthly price for Disney+ is $6.99; The Disney Plus, Hulu, and ESPN+ bundle currently costs $12.99 a month. Next month, Disney+’s price will rise to $7.99 a month; the Disney bundle to $13.99 a month.
Disney parks' revenue sank a big 53% to $3.6 billion, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with an operating loss of $119 million versus a year ago, with net income of $2.5 billion.
Advertising on all Disney platforms domestically, internationally and streaming grew 11% to $3.76 billion. Worldwide linear TV networks ad revenue were up 4% to $2.8 billion; international network advertising soared 32% to $634 million.
Advertising on U.S. linear TV networks was down 2% to $2.2 billion. Affiliate fees for those networks inched up 1% to $4.6 billion. Overall U.S. broadcast and cable TV networks revenue grew 2% to $7.7 billion.
Due to the cancellation of college sporting events on ESPN, total cable TV networks' advertising slipped 7% to $1.2 billion. Broadcasting advertising business was up 5% to $984 million, in large part due to higher political advertising revenue on ABC owned television stations.